Monday, July 26, 2021

Who's Who in the Legion #1 EXTRAS

by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Although we have already featured all of the characters that actually appeared in the mini-series Who's Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes (1988), we here at Legion of Super-Bloggers realized that we never got around to featuring the extra-special features from each issue, such as the history of the Legion from issues 1 & 2, the Legion planet featurette from issue 3, the Legion HQ tour from issue 4, etcetera! So here we are in seven part min-series to rectify this mistake!  

We'll start off with the first part of "The History of the Legion" from Who's Who in the Legion #1. 

A little background information: when DC decided to publish Who's Who in the Legion of Super-Heroese (WWitLSH for short), someone  made the decision that instead of doing a straight index of characters (as was done with Who's Who in Star Trek, published a year earlier),  this mini-series would include various "extras" in each issue. Editors Mark Waid and Karen Berger commissioned these featurettes, and they were slotted in. Whether this was a good idea or not, we'll let you discuss in the comments section. 

For WWitLSH #1, the decision was made to publish The History of the Legion. As all old-time Legion fans know, the in-continuity history of the Legion is not the same as its published history, so this featurette is especially helpful. Or, rather, it could have been. Due to the fact that these issues were published when Superboy and Supergirl were being wiped from DC continuity, Superboy gets little mention and the Maid of Might none at all. So that certainly mars the quality of these so-called facts. 

Artist Steve Lightle was given the assignment, and he turned in some of the most beautiful work of his career. For the first six pages, there is a great balance between text and illustrations. It's easy, of course, when the history corresponds to introduction of new members admitted. I especially like the juxta-positioning of the then-current "look" of the member in question against the panel of the "flashback" of his/her introduction. 

However, after page seven there is a drastic artistic change, with Dan Jurgens and Bruce Patterson taking over for Lightle. With apologizes to Mssrs Jurgens and Patterson, the art is just not as good. It appears rushed, if nothing else. Check out the death of Lightning Lad and the scene at his tomb for two great examples of what I'm talking about. 

Years later, Steve Lightle complained that the editor(s) kept changing the deadline on him, and he was unable to complete all the initial requested content. That's a shame, because what he did do is beautiful. 

Judge for yourself! Click on the pages to Colossal-ize them to enjoy them in detail! 

To Be Continued...! 

1 comment:

  1. While I enjoy Lightle's pages and the uniformity of the layouts, I actually prefer Jurgens' work. I'm not a fan of group shots where the characters are various sizes (see Lightle: page 1), without relation to their depth in the image. It's an issue I have with Barry Kitson as well.

    Jurgens keeps the size & perspective consistent in his illustrations. I enjoy both artists' work immensely, but here, I prefer Jurgens.